When it comes to relaxation, most people would think we RVers have it down.
After all, RVing is relaxing in itself, right? Hitting the open road, exploring the country…it’s an idyllic lifestyle others would envy.
Except when the car riding our bumper almost hits us. And is that smell coming from the black tank? By the way, WHAT IS THAT ANNOYING RATTLE BACK THERE? …
RVing is great, but life is just, well, stressful, no matter what you do. While there’s good stress and bad stress, it’s the bad form that is hard on our bodies. Stress that is chronic or repeated can actually make us physically sick. It suppresses our immune systems, screws up our digestive tracts, and can speed up cellular aging in our bodies. Stress can shave years off our lives.
So what’s a stressed out person to do?
Your general disposition will dictate much of your response to your stress…if you are a more resilient soul, you might see the stressor as a challenge, while a more anxious person will see it as a threat. The more we allow our life’s stresses to be threats, the more detrimental our stress is on our bodies. The good news is that if we alter our perceptions, most of the damage that stress has caused us can be reversed. Training ourselves to raise our stress thresholds will improve our overall health and add to our longevity. It will give us more years on the road.
Anti-Stress Strategies for RVers:
RETHINK BAD EXPERIENCES. So you are RVing along, and say your exit is closed off with a big DETOUR sign on it. Don’t let it eat at you because you have to go an hour out of your way, instead think of it as an opportunity to explore new roads and see new things you wouldn’t have otherwise seen. Changing your perception is one of the best ways to manage stress.
IDENTIFY POSITIVE EXPERIENCES. You stepped out of the RV this morning and maybe you saw some deer grazing in the middle of the RV park. Tell someone about it or start a journal and write it down. This will help you focus on the positive experiences in your day instead of the negatives.
MOVE! Exercise reduces stress levels and stimulates new brain cell growth. Sometimes when we feel stressed the very LAST thing we want to do is exercise, but that’s exactly what our bodies need. Exercise reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, clears our heads, and makes us better prepared to handle whatever obstacles lurk ahead. When you are feeling upset, don’t sink in front of the TV and go numb to the world. Instead, lace up those athletic shoes, get out of the RV, and go take a walk. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel when you return.
BE NICE. Studies show that acts of kindness towards others can make you feel happier and calmer. Welcome the new RV park neighbors by inviting them over for a yummy treat; like my famous Campfire Healthy Caramel Apples (hopefully I’m the new neighbor!).
MEDITATE. I can already feel the eye rolls. Don’t skip over this one just yet! Meditation actually increases gray matter in regions of our brains that are associated with regulating our emotions, giving us a physiological edge over managing our stress. Get out of the RV, take your lawnchair down by the water’s edge, and give it a try.
GET YOUR ZZZ’s. Skimping on your pillow time causes stress hormones to go berserk and is a huge anxiety inducer. If you want to be well, then be well-rested.
Ultimately, the truth is that stress doesn’t come from your kids, your RV park neighbors, traffic jams, detours, or any other circumstances. Stress comes from you and your own thoughts about these circumstances. Part of living well is keeping your attitude and your reaction to stress in check.
So! Next time your RV park neighbor takes up half your spot, don’t let your blood boil. Instead, offer it up to him; you don’t need it! After all, your lawnchair awaits you down by the water’s edge.
About the author: Stefany Adinaro is an RVing exercise specialist and is the self-proclaimed “better half” of the website she maintains with her husband James: www.thefitrv.com . While she loves her RV adventures, her favorite adventure is being “Mugga” to grandbabies Amelia and Eli. To learn more, check out The Fit RV website!